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Former Sesame Workshop Global Executive Assumes the Role to Drive New Growth For The World's Premier Improvisation And Sketch-Based Comedy Entertainment And Education Brand
Sept. 13, 2022 - CHICAGO – Legendary institution The Second City is proud to announce Ed Wells as its chief executive officer, signaling a new chapter of growth for the 63-year-old organization. Wells joins The Second City from Sesame Workshop, where he served as executive vice president and global head of media and education.
“I am honored to be named CEO of this legendary and beloved institution. As the world leader in improv-based entertainment and education, The Second City represents both the very best of and the future of improv,” said Ed Wells. “I look forward to joining and leading this incredibly talented team as we develop a long-term growth plan including geographical expansion and new media opportunities aimed at bringing The Second City magic to audiences everywhere.”
Wells has a deep experience in global media, entertainment, consumer products, and live events. In addition to his recent leadership at Sesame Workshop, Wells held executive leadership roles at WWE and Paramount (formerly Viacom).
“Ed Wells brings an enviable wealth of knowledge and deal-making experience in the global media and entertainment industry,” said Strauss Zelnick, founder and managing partner of ZMC. “Ed’s unique combination of media industry experience on the global stage and understanding of the creative experience will help take The Second City to the next level.”
Wells began his new role on September 6, 2022.
About Ed Wells
Ed Wells has spent his career developing businesses for some of the world’s most iconic entertainment brands. Most recently he served as executive vice president and head of global media and education for Sesame Workshop, where he developed the organization’s long-term strategic vision for media and education in the U.S. and around the world while maximizing audience engagement and growing the Workshop’s commercial and educational endeavors.
Prior to joining Sesame Workshop in 2017, Wells was executive vice president and head of international for WWE, Inc., where he was responsible for the global strategic development of WWE’s brand and businesses, including the launch of the direct-to-consumer subscription service, WWE Network. Prior to that, he worked across the Viacom International Media Networks brands based in New York, Singapore, and Japan, where he served as vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon.
Wells is actively involved in philanthropic institutions outside of the workplace and is a strategic advisor for the Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to supporting homeless LGBTQ youth. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and later earned Master of Arts degrees in International Studies from American University and Ritsumeikan University. Born and raised in the Detroit metro area, Wells is happy to be returning home to the Midwest.
About The Second City
The Second City opened its doors in 1959 as a small comedy cabaret and has since grown to become the world’s most influential name in improv and comedy. Second City's stages, Touring Companies, and Training Centers across North America have proudly been the launch pad for many of the funniest names on the planet, including John Belushi, John Candy, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Eugene Levy, Tim Meadows, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Suzy Nakamura, Catherine O’Hara, Amy Poehler, Gilda Radner, Sam Richardson, Joan Rivers, Amber Ruffin, Jason Sudeikis, and Steven Yeun, among many more.
ZMC is a leading private equity firm composed of experienced investors and executives who invest in and manage a diverse group of media and communications enterprises. Founded in 2001, ZMC's investment philosophy centers on operational value creation driven by targeted investment themes, deep sector expertise, and strong partnerships with industry and operating executives. ZMC approaches its investments in collaboration with management teams and has a successful track record of actively adding value to portfolio companies. ZMC is currently investing out of ZMC III, L.P., which closed on $775 million in commitments.